My kids have quite a collection of “swag”. Swag used to be the super cool stuff you got when you went to a Very Important Party. Now, it seems that every public event we go to has some kind of poorly made plastic items to hand out. Goody bags, dentist prizes, every public event seems to have a billion plastic toys or items that pretty much break immediately. And of course, McDonald’s Happy Meal toys. I swear, every time I request the book and end up with a toy that usually lights up so it’s ultra bad for the environment. I vaguely remember getting a plastic ring at the dentist but only after an actual procedure. And I would honestly treasure that ring because who knew when my next chance for a useless plastic toy might be.
All this stuff flies in the face of how we should really be raising our kids! We want them to be environmentally aware and to be mindful about consumerism. Throwing the broken plastic toys in the recycling bin or donating them to Value Village or the thrift shop doesn’t really make it any better. The items can’t always be recycled, and it’s just an ongoing cycle to donate them to a thrift shop. And for those who think handing out a cheap pencil is a solution because it’s “useful”, just ask any teacher how they feel about those terrible pencils that never sharpen properly!
I don’t know what the solution is because our children are now used to “getting” stuff at nearly every turn. I try to steer my daughter to things she truly likes and values, but there is a mindset of “the more the better” infiltrating everyone’s lives!
To all the parents out there, can we make a pact: no goody bag garbage, stand hard against KinderEggs, let’s buy each other books and experiences for birthday presents?! Pretty please?!